New York: William Morrow, Inc., 1992. A cerebral hemorrhage is a relatively nasty bleed in the brain that eventually kills brain cells. Thank you for your support to help care for the world's greatest Shakespeare heritage and keep his story alive. Influenza has been a pretty consistent killer throughout history, and just like typhoid, influenza was making an appearance during the year of Shakespeare's death. As a local gentleman, he was buried inside Holy Trinity Church beneath a stone slab engraved with this self-written epitaph: To this day, Holy Trinity Church remains a place of interest for Shakespeare enthusiasts—it is where he was both baptized and buried, marking the beginning and end of the Bard’s life. When we think about how Shakespeare died there is one story, one myth that prevails over all others that you will hear repeatedly referred to throughout this podcast by pretty much all of the speakers. Drayton was a frequent visitor. So mysteriously it appears. It's an Occam's Razor type situation: the simplest cause of death is probably the actual one. We can remove the first video in the list to add this one. The parts of Tudor life that are so different from our lives today, yet so the same. While there's no official diagnosis for Shakespeare, many people believe that he showed signs of tertiary syphilis based on his signatures later in life. Not too much pomp. The main requirement of a good death in material terms was that you were in your bed and that you were there and prepared. He just passes over that. He spent the last few years of his life in New Place, the town's largest house, which he had purchased in 1597. It was too heavy a drinking bout. Levi, Peter. But certainly for people with means, if you lived beyond a certain age, especially for women, that would be around child-bearing age, then the expectation would be that you could live actually well into your seventies and eighties. He wrote: "Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.". They wanted it to be very plain so they didn’t become a form of idol. Of course, in Shakespeare's time, there were myriad ways a person could die. It’s been repainted multiple times. The cause of Shakespeare’s death is a mystery, but an entry in the diary of John Ward, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (where Shakespeare is buried), tells us that “Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.” Again, there is an apocryphal story that has grown up around that about how his friends from London came and visited him in Stratford and they got into a bit of hard drinking and chatting and he passed away the next day. The cause of Shakespeare’s death is a mystery, but an entry in the diary of John Ward, the vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford (where Shakespeare is buried), tells us that “Shakespeare, Drayton, and Ben Jonson had a merry meeting and it seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a fever there contracted.” Ward, a self-proclaimed Shakespeare fan, wrote his diary fifty years after Shakespeare died and most historians agree it appears to be a baseless anecdote. HAMLING: So the monument we have; the memorial to Shakespeare goes up some time after his death. He was very old of course by the time he died - 52 was a grand old age when the average life expectancy of Elizabethans was in the early 30s. And you thought that theater degree was going to be easy! Who knows, they may still survive somewhere, and we keep on hoping that sometime, somewhere, somebody may be able to trace some of these family possessions. Not too much ceremony. We know that Shakespeare died on April 23, 1616, which also happened to be his 52nd birthday. His death occurred on or near his birthday (the exact date of his birth remains unknown), which may have been the source of a later legend that he fell ill and died after a night of heavy drinking with two other writers, Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton. Its an old thing. It tells of Shakespeare going out drinking with his writing friends and then dying of a fever shortly afterward. There are as many theories as there are theorists as to how Shakespeare died. Mitchell, C. Martin. In fact, there seems to be a delightful campaign to prove that Shakespeare didnât actually exist. We can assume that Shakespeare picked up some kind of infection. Use one of the services below to sign in to PBS: You've just tried to add this video to My List. In fact, one of these fevers was so severe that he actually had his will drawn up. There but not there. So we can assume that he wasn’t elite that we know, and that he didn’t have any particular investment in a particular type of funeral to show his religious affiliation. We do know, however, that in a world where plague, syphilis, typhus, scurvy, tuberculosis, smallpox, malaria, dysentery and toothaches shortened a Londoner’s life expectancy to thirty-five years, Shakespeare fared quite well, leading a relatively long and healthy life. We can assume that Shakespeare would've absorbed a lot of this. In fact, his son-in-law actually commented to this effect, saying: "Such a termination is quite common in men who have undergone such continuous mental and physical strain over a prolonged period as our actor-manager-dramatist must have been subjected to throughout his, undoubtedly, strenuous career. HAMLING: So people like to think about how Shakespeare died.
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